A proposal to leverage high-quality veterinary diagnostic laboratory large data streams for animal health, public health, and One Health

Craig N. Carter, Jacqueline L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Test data generated by ~60 accredited member laboratories of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) is of exceptional quality. These data are captured by 1 of 13 laboratory information management systems (LIMSs) developed specifically for veterinary diagnostic laboratories (VDLs). Beginning ~2000, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) developed an electronic messaging system for LIMS to automatically send standardized data streams for 14 select agents to a national repository. This messaging enables the U.S. Department of Agriculture to track and respond to high-consequence animal disease outbreaks such as highly pathogenic avian influenza. Because of the lack of standardized data collection in the LIMSs used at VDLs, there is, to date, no means of summarizing VDL large data streams for multi-state and national animal health studies or for providing near-real-time tracking for hundreds of other important animal diseases in the United States that are detected routinely by VDLs. Further, VDLs are the only state and federal resources that can provide early detection and identification of endemic and emerging zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are estimated to be responsible for 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million deaths worldwide every year. The economic and health impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is self-evident. We review here the history and progress of data management in VDLs and discuss ways of seizing unexplored opportunities to advance data leveraging to better serve animal health, public health, and One Health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-409
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the leaders and members of the AAVLD Accreditation Committee; Joint AAVLD/USAHA Committee on the NAHLN; AAVLD Epidemiology Committee; AAVLD Informatics Committee; and the Joint AAVLD/USAHA CAHSIS, along with so many other laboratory staff and volunteers working to advance quality and data management in our VDLs in North America and beyond. Thanks to Dr. Hemant Naikare, Director of the Tifton Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory, Tifton GA for sharing the results of his national AAVLD directors survey regarding LIMS software in use. We combined the 2019 survey with the results of the Kentucky 2020 survey for future use. Thanks to Derrick Miles and Nathan McCurdy of the UK-VDL IT group for their support throughout the preparation of the manuscript. The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


  • animal health monitoring
  • laboratory information management system
  • standard veterinary nomenclature system
  • veterinary diagnostic laboratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Veterinary (all)


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